Friday, April 26, 2013
149th Street LIRR bridge still closed with no answers
From Eyewitness News:
The bridge that crosses the railroad tracks in Flushing, Queens on 149th Street between Roosevelt and 41st Avenues is still not open to the public.
It's a brand new bridge rebuilt for $4 million.
It was set to re-open in May 2012, nearly a year later, but 11 months later, not a single car has driven over it.
Back in February Eyewitness News reached out to the City Department of Transportation asking whether any "defects were found during the (bridge's) inspection."
Stone-walled by DOT, Eyewitness News filed a Freedom of Information request and still there are no answers.
"It's almost like a cover-up is going on," State Sen. Tony Avella said.
Queens State Senator Tony Avella ran into the same wall of silence.
"This contract was done by a city agency with public dollars, we should know what's happening," Avella said.
Documents Eyewitness News obtained reveal that the builder is "Unicorn Construction Enterprises" which has been contracted to refurbish many bridges throughout the city.
Discovering how many contracts Unicorn has had with the city, more than 20 since 2008, Eyewitness News decided to go right to the top with our questions.
"There were issues with the concrete and we're not going to open a bridge until its safe," said Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC DOT Commissioner.
Sure enough, a closer look at the bridge shows cracks running the entire length of its new concrete span and the DOT installed sensors to monitor the cracks.
Eyewitness News asked the Commissioner why her DOT inspectors failed to discover the defective concrete sooner.
But it didn't open until after the refurbishment project was done and the money was spent.
"I can't really say anything else because we're looking at legal action right now. The bridge will remain closed until it is safe to the travelling public," Sadik-Khan said.
"We've been trying for weeks to get the inspection reports on the bridge. It is a public document. Will you release that to Channel 7?" Hoffer asked.
"I'll have to get back to you, I don't know what the status of that is," Sadik-Khan said.